Driving again

cropped highway

I’ve finally been given the OK to drive again. Following my surgery two weeks ago I haven’t been allowed to drive, but my surgeon said today I should be able to get behind the wheel again.

I love driving, I drive for leisure and I drive for work, so I’ve certainly missed being on the road.  My car isn’t anything special, it’s an old Mazda with over 300,000km on the clock, but seeing the brake discs getting rustier everyday just made more frustrated.

So with the all clear to drive today, it was time to go for a spin. There was nowhere I had to be, so I told my wife I was just going “around the block”, which ended up being from Pakenham to Nar Nar Goon and back. Taking it easy to start with, to get the automotive fluids flowing through the car for the first time in two weeks, and the driving juices flowing through my veins again.

Normally a quick 20 minute drive, down the highway and back the freeway, would be nothing to speak of, but I really enjoyed going for a spin today.

Rusty brake discs.

Rusty Brake Disc

Normally shiny like a mirror, brakes go rusty when not used.

Manual 5 Speed box

5 Speed Gear Box

I love driving a manual car (but prefer an auto in trucks)

Throttle on a thread

Worn and fraying Mazda 3 throttle cable
Worn and fraying throttle cable
Replacement throttle cable fitted to my Mazda 3
Replacement throttle cable fitted

Recently I wrote about my little 2005 Mazda 3 clicking over 300,000km.  Well, it turns out I was lucky to make it that far!

I was making a routine check under the bonnet and discovered the throttle cable was badly worn and frayed, literally hanging on by a thread. I had been putting off getting the car serviced (because that takes time and money) for a while, and instead just topping up the oil and keeping an eye on the other fluids, but seeing the throttle cable in that state meant I couldn’t put off the workshop visit any longer.

A check back through the service history revealed the car had actually done 70,000km since the last service.  Oh dear!  That just goes to show how reliable my Mazda has been.  In fact, over the eleven years I’ve owned it, the only problems have been a front strut replaced, two air-con compressors. the boot release and lots of head light globes.  The drivetrain, despite my lake of service maintenance, has been pretty reliable.

Rather than go to the Mazda dealer, I decide to call a local workshop and book in the car for a major service and throttle cable replacement.  I ask the guy to order in a new cable so they have it ready, but he says they will work it out once they see the car.

When I drop the car off a few days later, I remind him again about the throttle cable and he says they will give me a call to confirm once they check it out.  A few hours later they phone to say the service is done and I really should get the car serviced more often.  “Ok” I say, “what about the throttle cable?”  To which they reply; ” your car has an electronic throttle, so there is no cable”.  Hmmm!  I tell them to check again.  I get another call around ten minutes later to say “I see what you mean, your car is too dangerous to drive with the cable like that, we will have to order a new one for you and it will take a couple of days to get here”.  So I remind this genius that I told him three days earlier to order the cable.  He does apologise, but goes on to tell me the cable and installation will be an extra $330.

It’s no wonder I’m so reluctant to hand over my car to the mechanics!

Tree on car

Way back in 2001, not long after buying our first PC, I experimented with online publishing.  I’d bought some computer magazines to learn about that Windows 98 beige box and came across an article about Homestead.com  The site allowed you to create your very own web page, with a primitive drag and drop interface, for free.  Wow, I could create my own page on the internet, how exciting!

I started dreaming about what I could do with my own web page (like I still do with the sites I publish now), but first I had to learn by experimenting.  I needed some photos, so I scanned pictures I had from when a tree landed on my wife’s car a few years earlier (yes, I had to scan photos because we didn’t even have a digital camera at that stage (that came in 2003).  A few hours later I’d made a web page called “Tree On Car”.

I’d forgotten all about my Tree On Car page, until I recently came across an old link on my very first Blogger blog.  The Homestead.com service still exists (competing with the likes of Squarespace and Wix), but my page had been disabled.  I decided to have a look at the Internet Wayback Machine, a site that archives web pages for future reference, to see if I could find anything.

The Wayback Machine didn’t have the Tree-On-Car website archived, but it did have the images.  I’m not sure why the photos were archived, but not the site, but that’s okay because those scanned photos were lost a couple of computers ago.

I think it’s pretty amazing when some hunting around on the internet can find things thought long lost!

By the way, we try not to park under trees these days!

300,000km on the clock

I’ve had my little Mazda 3 since February 2005.  It was purchased new to replace a company ute (two seats wasn’t good for the family) and was paid for with a car allowance from my employer at the time.  When I picked it up from Dandenong Mazda it had just 5km on the clock (odometer), back then I was working in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and doing about 140km every day, so it didn’t take long to tick over 100,000km in September 2007.

The next six digit milestone on the speedo took a bit longer, after changing jobs to work local, doing less than 10km a day.  200,000km rolled around on the digital odometer in July 2012.

Since 2012 another new job now has me doing around 80km daily, but the car has also had several big roadtrips.  The Mazda has been to Broken Hill twice (returning via Peterborough, SA, on one of those), Sydney twice (one via Bathurst and Canberra), another separate run to Canberra, Warnambool, Hamilton, Yarram and lots of other places in between.

This week the Mazda reached 300,000km, and I reckon I’ve driven more than 299,000 of those my self.  The car has been pretty reliable, and despite being pretty slack with the servicing, it hasn’t really let me down.  Along the way I’ve had a front strut replaced and two air-con compressors changed.  I’ve replaced the battery, numerous headlight globes and the boot release no longer works.

Now that my eldest son is learning to drive, my Mazda will probably get passed onto him when he gets his licence.  I have no idea what I’d replace it with, but hopefully something just as reliable.

1Mazda 100,000km, September 2007

100,000km, September 2007

Mazda 200,000km July 2012

Mazda 200,000km July 2012

300,000km April 2016

300,000km April 2016

Mazda 3 side-on photo

My little Mazda 3

Read why the Mazda was lucky to make it this far… simonyeo.id.au/throttle-on-a-thread